Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Published by Candlewick Press 

Summary:  The seasons come and go in a world populated by a variety of insects who, apparently, speak an insect language.  “Du iz tak?” seems to mean “What is that?”, and it’s a question one dragonfly asks another when it comes across a small green plant poking through the ground.  Other insects join the group, and as the plant grows, they create homes in its leaves.  A spider weaves a giant web on the top, which seems like a problem until the spider is carried off by a huge bird.  The plant eventually grows an enormous flower (“unk gladdenboot!”) which, over time, droops and scatters its seeds.  Through it all, a cocoon has been hanging from a nearby branch.  After the plant dies, a moth emerges and performs a nighttime dance with the seeds to a cricket’s fiddle music.  Winter passes, and in the spring all the seeds sprout, posing the question yet again, “Du iz tak?”  48 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Wow!  An enormously creative, original take on the seasons.  The youngest readers will love poring over the pictures, examining the detailed changes from one page to the next.  Older kids will have fun trying to translate the language from context clues.  The Caldecott committee should put this one on its short list.

Cons:  Emerging readers may find the text confusing.

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